Monday, February 27, 2012

Backing, Basting and Blather

My frugal German upbringing plagued me while I looked online for eight yards of clearance or sale yardage for the back of my Friendship Medallion quilt. Underwhelmed by options I came across, my inherent thrifty nature came through and I decided to make a back from my stash. Since I also had some extra half-square triangles, and some "oops blocks," it seemed most practical to use up what I already have. 

Piecing and stripping for a few hours, I managed to make this 92" X 100" backing. I used all the Kona white I have left, so that's now on my must-buy list. Since trying to "go modern" with my quiltmaking, I've used at least ten yards of Kona white.

That row of red and white parallelograms was created from all my oopsie pieces. Here's where I confessed that mistake. They work. And don't I feel extra thrifty!?

After much time spent pin-basting, here are the three quilts ready for quilting. Every one-inch safety pin I own is in these quilts! Top to bottom, they are: Circle of Geese; Disappearing Four-Patch; and Friendship Medallion. Now to get myself down to my basement sewing room for some quality quilting time and book-listening.

Just to prove that it's still winter in Iowa, last week Mother Nature showed off, dropping four inches of heavy, wet snow in Central Iowa. Oddly enough, we'd just put our patio furniture back out on the back deck because it has been mild.

But it was a pretty snow, sticking to the tree limbs like it did. 

The snow's gone now, but for a bit, our yard was looking pretty.

For those who commented, asking whether I found good homes for my needlework pieces, in the previous post... No. No one has expressed interest in them. They've been on Craigslist for nearly two weeks now. I'm steeling my heart for the moment I donate them to the Hospice of Central Iowa Thrift Store, a very nice retail shop I hope will appreciate having them to sell. 

Don't forget that this Thursday is the last day you can comment to win a gift certificate for a Blog2Print book. To comment, please go here - Blogger's Giveaway. Linda

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

For Sale

Still paring down. Selling and giving away. Here are some things I'm offering free to those of you who are local - in the Des Moines, Iowa area. Please let me know what you want!

If you're not in the Des Moines, Iowa area, I'll send it to you if you'll pay shipping too.

Quilter's Newsletter Magazines Free locally Taken!
Past issues, from 1996 through 2010 of "Quilter's Newsletter Magazine." Years 1996 through 2007 are well-organized in magazine holders inserted in large three-ring binders. Years 2008-2010 are loose. QNM is a wonderful resource for patterns, techniques, and tips for new and experienced quilters.

Miniature Quilts Magazines Free locally Taken!
No longer in print; from 2001 to 2004. Organized with magazine holders in two large three-ring binders.

Plaster Nativity Set - $10 plus shipping
Eight piece plaster nativity set: three wise men; one shepherd and a lamb; Mary, Joseph and Jesus. Tallest king is 5 inches. Every figurine has a # mark on the bottom. Purchased in 1981 after learning the original mold was broken due to its strong similarity to Precious Moments figurines. Began painting the figures and never finished.

Swedish Huck Weaving - $10 plus postage 
Decorative, 16 inch diameter doily, stitched with the Swedish huck weaving or Nordic weaving technique. Blue flowers and green leaves on white huck cloth. Hand-crocheted edge is white and blue.

Hardanger Embroidery Bell Pulls -The middle one is gone, so $8 each for the small ones, plus postage.
Left to right: Blue bell pull is 2-3/4 inches wide by 13-1/2 inches long with silver hardware. Center, large bell pull is 5-1/2 inches wide by 20-1/2 inches long with gold hardware. Beige bell pull is 2-3/4 inches wide X 13-1/2 inches long with gold hardware. 

Winter Greenery Counted Cross-Stitch - $20 plus shipping
Counted cross-stitch holiday or winter scene of greenery, berries, pine cones, and geese in the distance. Stitched on fine, ivory linen. Framed in a custom, hand-made oak frame. Exterior dimensions 14 inches by 14 inches. Circle opening 10-1/4 inch in diameter. No glass.

"I Got Up Early" Counted Cross-Stitch - $20 plus shipping
"I got up early one morning..." poem in counted cross-stitch. Very dark blue thread on ivory fabric. Oak frame with unique custom mat. Protected with glass. 16" X 17".

I got up early one morning,
and rushed right into the day;
I had so much to accomplish
that I didn't have time to pray.

Problems just tumbled about me,
and heavier came each task.
"Why doesn't God help me?" I wondered.
He answered, "You didn't ask."

I wanted to see joy and beauty,
but the day toiled on gray and bleak;
I wondered why God didn't show me.
He said, "But you didn't seek."

I tired to come into God's presence,
I tried all my keys at the lock.
God gently and lovingly chided.
"My child, you didn't knock."

I woke up early this morning,
and paused before entering the day;
I had so much to accomplish
that I had to take time to pray.

"Hummingbird Garden" Counted Cross-Stitch - $25 plus shipping
Custom oak wood frame with blue V-groove mat and glass. Stitched on fine light blue linen fabric. 10-1/2 inches X 13 inches. Protected with glass.

Pulled Thread Sampler - $30 plus shipping

A variety of embroidery stitches around a fan motif. Stitched on fine linen with ivory thread. 15" X 17-1/2" Custom frame is brushed light bronze metal with double mat, and protected with glass.

Hand Quilting Frame - $40 plus shipping
Medium-colored wood, hand quilting frame. Easy to assemble. A-frame legs can adjusted to a distance (length) apart from 50 inches to 82 inches. (Shown in photos at 82 inches apart.) For quilting, distance between poles is 26 inches. Two poles included are 92 inches long. Four tilt positions. 

Hardanger Mirror - $45 plus shipping
This piece was a blue ribbon winner at the Iowa State Fair! Hardanger embroidered star using a variety of stitches. Unique custom frame with Hardanger piece mounted on a mirror. Polished silver-colored frame measures 20-1/2 inches X 20-1/2 inches. Mat is dark charcoal-colored. No glass.

"Kind Hearts" Mixed Techniques - Sold
12" X 24" piece contains a variety of stitching techniques: counted cross-stitch, Hardanger, pulled thread, ruching. This feminine, pretty piece is stitched with cotton and decorative threads on linen fabric, and embellished with decorative buttons, beads, and ribbon. Custom framed by Heartland Gallery (West Des Moines) in a brushed silver frame with curved top double matting: cream and pale gray. No glass.
Kind hearts are the garden
Kind thoughts are the roots
Kind words are the blossoms
Kind deed are the fruits

I know you're going to ask, so I'll go ahead and tell you, "Yes, I made all the needlework pieces." In the early 80's I owned a needlework shop, learning and becoming involved in every technique. For several years, I was active in the local chapter of the Embroiderer's Guild of America too. These pieces are very special to me for the hundreds of hours they represent. Let's not talk about the cost of custom framing! Since I don't have enough walls, nor are my children interested in them, I'd love to see them go to a good home. If you can help me out, thank you!

Oh, and don't forget to enter the Blog2Print giveaway! (This giveaway has ended.) You could win a $35 gift certificate to make a print book from your own blog. How cool is that!? Comment here, please by recommending to me a good read. I'm keeping a list. Thanks! Linda

Monday, February 20, 2012

It's a Top!

Did you hear the big whoop and hurrah from Des Moines today!? With the last coping strip (purple) and the last half-square triangle (red and white, and pink and white) border, the Friendship Medallion quilt is now officially a top!

It measures a good-sized 85" X 95-1/2". It was a stinker to photograph.

I wanted to get these photos up so perhaps you-all can help me find a cotton print backing fabric. A busy print, a tone-on-tone, a stripe or an all-over design... I'm not particular. But I want it on sale. Like $4 a yard or less.

I know it's available that cheap because I've seen it for that sale price in on-line shops. I just didn't see any print that would suit this clear, bright quilt. But I'm confident something is out there. So, if you come across any, please let me know. I need about eight yards.

Did you see the final, two-hour episode of "Downton Abbey" last night?! I was glued to the TV for four hours! Our Iowa PBS station re-broadcast last week's two-hour program followed by the final two-hour show. Riveting! The last ten minutes where the actors and actresses as themselves provided commentary on their characters was most interesting. Gosh, do some of them look wildly different in "real life," or what!? And did you realize that this program has introduced us to 33 characters?! If you've been as absorbed by the show as I have been, I bet you can name almost all of them. Season three is now being recorded. I've heard that Shirley McClain will be introduced as Lady Grantham's American mother. Now what do you think of that?

Don't forget to enter my Blogger's Giveaway here. Comments/entries are being accepted, on that post only, until March 1. Linda

Saturday, February 18, 2012

FNSI Slow Going

Friday night was "Friday Night Sew In" with Heather and Bobbi. I was a last-minute sign-up since I didn't know how much free time I might have Friday evening, or how I'd be feeling. Gosh, the week was full of paring down... and boy, am I ever getting tired of it!

It was precious to be able to sit down and turn my attention to the Friendship Medallion quilt that's been coming together in doled-out parts. I'm happy to be on part 7, the final round. This last step is taking a while. Might be because the quilt is getting bigger. Duh.

Part 7 involves trimming to 2-1/2" the half-square triangles left over from part 5...

...and sewing them together.

I made four long borders like the two on the far left. 

They don't quite fit the last round of nine-patch blocks, so coping strips are needed. Gotta calculate, cut, and add them around the quilt before sewing on the HST borders. Five hours wasn't as much time as I needed to get the job done, but I still appreciate the monthly FNSI time I can set aside for sewing. 

Now I'm back to paring down and today that meant going through Christmas decorations! Good grief. Until today, these decorations haven't seen the light of day for three years! When kids don't come home for Christmas it doesn't seem worth the effort to put things out. Now, more than half of the decorations are in a donation pile. Happily, my beloved nativity set and stable are destined for our son's family. The only nice aspect of paring down is knowing that what is kept in the family, is going where it's appreciated.

If you haven't already done so, be sure to enter my giveaway here, in the previous blog post. Linda

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Blogger's Giveaway

This giveaway has ended.

If you're a blogger, you might win!

If you're a blogger who wants to make your blog posts into a print book, you might win!

If you're a blogger who wants to make your blog posts into a print book, and you live anywhere in the world, you might win!

If you're a blogger who wants to make your blogs posts into a print book, you live anywhere in the world, and make one comment on this post, you might win!

Yay for you!

Through my blog, Blog2Print is offering a $35 gift certificate toward the purchase of a Blog2Print book. If you aren't familiar with this company, you should be. I came across it two years ago, and have had two books made from my blog posts.

Here's the cover of my first book.
I chose to have mine printed as hardcover, but there's a softcover option too.
Did ya read that original title? I'm sure you can be more creative than me!

I like the feature that lets me write a dedication in the front of the book. 

How nice to be able to flip through pages to see the pictures and posts about what happened in my blogging life during 2009. And 2010. And 2011.

Besides being good-looking books, they're a great way to permanently document all those words and pictures you spent time putting on your blog. Then, if anything ever happens to the electronic version...

My first book was 175 pages, not because I'm verbose. Oh no! There are just that many pictures. Yep, it's all those pictures that made it a big book.

It doesn't matter if you're using Blogger, Typepad, or Wordpress. Blog2Print works with all these formats.

So, for a chance to win a $35 gift certificate comment once. Tell me the title (and author, if you know it) of a book you'd recommend as a good read... besides Blog2Print books, of course!

Only commenters with a reply email address are eligible.

Comments will remain open until Thursday, March 1 at midnight, US Central time.

This giveaway has ended. Linda

Monday, February 13, 2012


First I want to thank everyone who commented on my last post with great suggestions about what to do with my smocking supplies and other unique items. I followed through on everything you suggested and then some. So far, nothing is working out, but I'll continue to look.

Even though the smocking supplies haven't found a home, I'm feeling positive about where we are, in general, with purging and organizing:
  • As of February 1, I unstuck and scanned 2,249 photos from 13 photo albums dating from 1972 through 2007! That was opening and closing the lid of our printer 2,249 times! All the photos at 600 dpi fit on one CD which I burned four times - for us, our kids, and safe-keeping.
  • I sold two boxes of quilting books, quilting patterns, embroidery hoops, yarn, crochet hooks, knitting needles, a dress ham, quilt basting spray and a garment steamer to Fabric Recycles in Overland Park, Kansas. While I made back only about ten percent of the purchase price, it was something.
  • I sorted and reduced four Kodak slide carousels to two and they're in Overland Park being digitized at Truth on Tape. Why Overland Park? Because their price was less than half of what I would have been charged here in Des Moines.
  • A huge box of denim I'd been saving to make a quilt (ha), was donated to Goodwill. That was 39 pairs of jeans, 12 skirts and shorts, a vest and a jacket!
  • A wonderful friend from church has listed on her Ebay store some of my inherited depression glassware, and a sheepskin/rabbit fur coat. 
The things we're going through have been accumulating for the past 22-1/2 years, so perhaps I shouldn't be surprise that we've spent six weeks on this and progress seems slow. The timing of deciding to get rid of stuff, and me taking the Beth Moore Bible study, "James: Mercy Triumphs," are too coincidental to be other than of God. James 5:3 addresses consumerism.
This treasure you have accumulated will stand as evidence against you on the day of judgment.
I will continue to simplify! Watch me!

Last week, a garbage bag of quilt batting pieces was my target. First, I had to identify all the types of batting. It wasn't too difficult. There was Hobbs 80/20; Cream/White Rose which is my absolute favorite go-to batting; the less affordable but superior quality Quilter's Dream; and Warm 'n Natural/White, which I seldom use anymore because I don't care for its thick stiffness. Wool and flannel are the most easy to recognize. 

Then, after assessing whether pieces were even large enough to keep, I measured them, noting the type of batting and dimensions on a piece of paper. 

It really didn't take all that long to roll up each piece with it's note.

Just two large bins full - not an outrageous amount. The batting pieces that were not worth keeping are going to a friend who uses them to sew "belly bands," a type of pet underwear... if you will. 

One more small task accomplished. Yay!

Two weekends ago I was involved with a Quilt-a-Thon hosted by my church quilting group, Hope Quilters. It was a two-day sewing event to make blocks to sew into quilts for Mercy Children's Center here in Des Moines. The weather didn't cooperate on Saturday - six inches of snow fell throughout the day - so our turnout was smaller than we expected. Last week I sewed a quilt top and back from my stash.

Using leftover fabric chunks -  3-1/2" X 6-1/2" rectangles called loaves - here's my "Stairs to Heaven" loaf quilt top for Mercy. It measures 48" X 48".
48" X 48" Stairs to Heaven quilt top.
You can see that I pulled quite a few pieces from my stash, but these work fine for a 58" X 58" back. The quilts will be longarm quilted, so this backing is larger than I would normally make if I was quilting it myself.

Last week I also made the January Blogger's BOM designed by Quilt Dad. He calls it "Sands of Time." I like picturing a whole quilt of these blocks, alternating vertically and horizontally. The February block will be available at Canton Village Quilt Works on February 25.

This past weekend we were in Kansas City. I took my Featherweight sewing machine along with me for servicing at Missouri Sewing Machine Center. It was well worth the effort to take it there to be tuned-up when compared to a quote I received here in Des Moines. 

Of course time in KC was spent with family. Though it's been only six weeks since we've seen these guys, they are changing too quickly.
Tay, 28 months; Aesa 15 months
And they're sooo busy! It's "Ring Around the Rosie" and "Watch this, Nana!"

This week, getting rid of continues with several furnishings going onto Craigslist. The work doesn't seem to end. Linda

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Cleaning House

As many of my friends know, we're working very hard to clean out our house. For the past few weeks, we've been going through things, making great efforts to find places for everything whether it's giving things away to friends, trying to sell on Craigslist, or donating items.

My craft and sewing supplies have receive my closest personal attention. My dilemma is now about what to do with some unique items.

For at least a decade, I was a smocker. No, not a smoker as in puff-puff, cough-cough. A smocker - someone who hand-embroiders designs across pleated fabric to make a stretchy sort of fabric that's sewn into adorable little girl's clothing.
I made all my daughter's best dresses, as well as custom-sewed special occasion dresses and bonnets for other little girls.
I'm keeping the 20 or so smocked outfits my little girl wore, but I have lots of smocking supplies. While I found a home for my large pile of batiste fabrics (the best type for making smocked clothing) and some pre-pleated items, I still have a bunch of stuff!

Not a sniff of interest on Craigslist, nor from the Smocking Arts Guild (Cedar Rapids, Iowa).

I have patterns for girls and boys in a multiple sizes of one design,

smocking books and patterns,

and 39 smocking design plates.

It's quite a bit of stuff.

Giving them to Goodwill or Salvation Army would see them dumped in the trash, and some of the patterns have never even been used! I'm at the limit of my ability to try to figure out what to do with everything. Ideas anyone?

Unfortunately, smocking-related items aren't the only things I have that I haven't been able to sell, or know where to give away. There are still books and supplies for Hardanger embroidery, bobbin lace-making, and fabric-dying. I have a few more quilting and counted cross-stitch books, embroidery hoops, pillow forms, Miniature Quilts magazines, 15-plus years of Quilters Newsletter Magazine (in binders!),  and a floor magnifier lamp.

If you were me, what would you do with them? Linda


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